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India: fantastic, friendly and surprisingly accessible to the disabled traveller

Having spent far too much of my life in a hospital bed I am very cautious about my health. This means that travelling to countries with Malaria or poor water quality has never been something I would consider….that is until recently.

When disabled travel specialist Enable Holidays asked me to test out their accessible holiday in India I jumped at the chance.  The holiday I was going on involved travelling to Delhi, Agra and Jaipur which make up the country’s renowned Golden Triangle.

Fortunately being cities the risk of malaria was negligible. However, before I went I visited my GP to get vaccinated against Hepatitis A, diphtheria, polio and tetanus. I was also given advice on how to avoid Dengue fever and told not to drink the water or anything that could have been washed such as an apple. I also took out Fish’s specialist disabled travel insurance, knowing that should I fall ill or have an accident I would benefit from the best possible care. Peace of mind is something you should always pack!

For someone who has never visited a developing country before this trip was certainly an eye opener. I hadn’t expected it to be accessible but I was completely wrong. All the hotels I stayed in had accessible rooms and the majority of monuments and museums had ramped access.  However, where there were steps or a really steep ramp there were always people offering assistance who would never take “no” for an answer. You may however have to consign yourself to getting a car everywhere as although all the bus stops clearly display a wheelchair sign neither they nor the buses are accessible in any way.

Disabled people are clearly not common visitors to India as everywhere I went I did become the centre of attention. Given the opportunity of looking at the Taj Mahal or me, I know which I’d prefer! I didn’t see another disabled tourist the entire time I was there and I was told by my tour guides that in India a lot of disabled people don’t go out. I did see a lot of disabled people begging especially amputees and as an amputee myself it is a difficult sight to see. It did make me feel incredibly lucky to live in a country where we get wheelchairs and limbs and cars.

But my trip to India was absolutely amazing and I’d not hesitate to recommend it to fellow disabled travellers, providing you get authoritative travel advice from a specialist like Enable and ensure you are properly protected with effective disabled travel insurance. I’m pleased to say I didn’t get Delhi belly or Dengue fever and had no need to call on Fish for assistance – but I’m grateful for the confidence and reassurance their cover gave me as I travelled.

If you’d like to read more about my adventures in India then simply click on the links to catch up on my three blogs covering my travels in Delhi, Agra and Jaipur.

* Helen Dolphin travelled with Enable Holidays which offers only resorts, hotels and apartments carefully assessed to ensure they are accessible and suitable for travellers with mobility impairments. For more details click here.  She was protected by Fish’s disabled travel insurance which offers specialist cover which includes emergency replacement of prescription medicines and a carer, pre-existing medical conditions and protection for manual wheelchairs and mobility aids.

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